Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

As a Valley-ite, I've always been curious about what the large swath of green called the Sepulveda Basin holds for me. I was honored to be given an inside look by a dedicated birder based in the Valley.   Based on the popularity of the post, it seems that I wasn't the only one curious about the goings-on of birders.

I'm also proud of myself because, after years of writing, I was finally able to get a Call of Duty (a video game my husband works on) reference in one of my pieces. :)

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Yosuke Kitazawa
Published: 24 Oct 2012, KCET

American White Pelican. Photographs from Sepulveda Basin © 2012 Mathew Tekulsky
They walk among us, in plain sight. Their figures barely cause for a second look. Like us, they enjoy the feel of the sunshine on their skin and the gorgeous blue of the Los Angeles sky, but that is not all they go outdoors for. Birders are on a mission.

Most likely dressed in comfortable khaki shorts and sporting Captain Price-like boonie hats, birders congregate in nature preserves, parks, or just about any type of natural habitat in search of...well...birds. At the smallest sound of an unidentified warble, heads whirl in search of its source.

Ears perk, eyes squint to get a better look, hands finger the black binoculars that hang casually from their necks. Practice has given birders sharpened observation skills. As soon as they find their target, they take a few moments to enjoy it, and then the pens come out, jotting down one of their many finds for the day.

"The difference between a runner and a jogger is a race application," says Kris Ohlenkamp, Conservation Director for the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. "If you've run a race, you're a runner. With birding, if you keep a list, you're a birder. Otherwise, you're a birdwatcher." Birdwatching may be a lazy day diversion, but birding is in a different league. [read more]


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